Review: GMSN (Glasgow Make Some Noise) Pure Modular Synth

This month I had a special treat. Instead of being sent a module to review, I was sent an entire system! Glasgow Make Some Noise was kind enough to loan me one of their Pure Modular synths to check out. The Pure Modular is an 84 HP Eurorack synthesizer in a rugged, wooden, lidded case. From left to right, it’s made up of an LFO, Noise Generator, Sequencer, Quantiser, two Oscillators, a Low Pass Filter, Envelope Generator, and VCA. This provides everything you need to get started putting together a wide range of sounds, but it also plays nicely with any other modular gear that you might have. Continue reading “Review: GMSN (Glasgow Make Some Noise) Pure Modular Synth”

Review: Intellijel JellySquasher Analog Compressor & Tone Shaper Eurorack Module

I have to admit that I wasn’t terribly interested in this module when it first came out. I suppose this is partially because I have grown used to getting my compression from software plug-ins rather than hardware. There’s some great analog emulations out there, and software has a level of precision that is hard to beat. At least that’s how I felt until Danjel gave me a demonstration of an Acidlab Miami running through the Springverb into the Jellysquasher. He was able to quickly dial in this gritty, breathing, monstrous, dub techno tone from a simple drum groove and I was blown away. Toms transformed into growling synth swells. After that abrupt about-face of opinion I was eager to get my hands on one. Continue reading “Review: Intellijel JellySquasher Analog Compressor & Tone Shaper Eurorack Module”

Synthesis Essentials: All About Oscillators

Oscillators. The raw sound source that spawns the diverse range of tones and timbres spewed by all synthesizers. They come in different shapes and can be produced by a variety of techniques to make your imagination audible. If you consider the fact that all of the sounds we hear are vibrations in air, oscillators are creating synthetic vibrations that become sound once connected to a speaker. Instead of moving back and forth like a guitar string, the oscillator cycles between positive and negative voltages. Continue reading “Synthesis Essentials: All About Oscillators”

Synthesis Essentials: Know Your Filters

The filter is arguably the element of a synthesizer that does the most to define its character. Words like squelchybrassycreamygritty and so on are often used to describe their impact, and reading those adjectives in this context probably made you think of a few specific synths. Perusing the various offerings in both the fixed architecture and eurorack markets presents a perplexing plethora of jargon. To make matters worse, many of these terms overlap, as manufacturers will often use different names to describe the same feature. So what makes all these filters different and how does that affect the way a synthesizer will sound? Continue reading “Synthesis Essentials: Know Your Filters”

Review: Pittsburgh Modular Lifeforms Percussion Sequencer

The Eurorack realm has no shortage of sequencer offerings, and for good reason. They can generate the pulse that drives an entire system, bring a patch to life with modulation, provide the rhythmic foundation to support your patch, or whatever else you can conceive. Because they are so critical to so many systems, and because there is such a diverse range of approach, the market still does not seem saturated. However, I imagine it’s becoming increasingly difficult for manufacturers to make sequencers that stand out by offering something unique and exciting. Pittsburgh Modular adeptly pulls this off by creating a relatively small, hugely functional, performance ready, four channel sequencer. Continue reading “Review: Pittsburgh Modular Lifeforms Percussion Sequencer”